Abingdon or Abingdon-on-Thames to give it it's full name, sits on the banks of the river Thames and is said to have been continuously inhabited since the Iron Age, making it one of Britain's oldest inhabited towns.
As we crossed the bridge into town from the car park it was still a bit murky looking.
Since last Thursday Abingdon has been home to a French Market. And pretty much as authentic as you'd get unless you actually went to France. Last year mum went on a trip to a UK German Christmas market and was so disappointed that it wasn't a bit German that she could see. I'd told her to try the Gluhwein or get some iced Christmas biscuits and disappointingly she said there was none of the things that we associated with a German market; it was more an English market in the loose style of a German market. This French market was completely different. French bread, patisserie, Provencal soap, leather goods, olives, bags. The people selling were French. Good English, but appreciative of the odd word of French to them.
I wandered around looking at everything, itching to take photos but feeling slightly self conscious because some times sellers of all kinds of goods can get quite snarky if you dare to put a camera anywhere near there wares. So whilst I was plucking up the courage to take some close up shots, I decided to buy some little treats. The seller informed me he had the same camera. We struck up a conversation. He was impressed I'd chosen some Madelines. He asked my name and shook my hand (I'm obviously far too British with the whole reserve thing going on because I forgot to ask his name in return - I mean when was the last time someone selling you something wanted to shake your hand; unless it was maybe a used car sales man?) He decided my name 'Jan' was definitely French. And never has anyone said my name and made it sound so sexy. He said I could take pictures without me even asking, so of course I had to get him and his wares in.
We also got a baguette. I don't know how I resisted the pear and chocolate tarts!
I loved these bags but couldn't think of an excuse to buy one. I even racked my brains as to who might like one for Christmas. I didn't need one myself as I already have a very similar one given to me full of foodie treats one Christmas from neighbours who have a home in France too.
Yummy olives and olive oils for sale.
After the market we had a wander around Abingdon. It's been a few years since I'd been there shopping and it's sad that there are so many empty shops, despite the rejuvenation of the centre shopping areas. There is still a nice mix of high street and independent shops and hopefully as things improve economically the town will fill those empty units.
If you're not off to France yourself and want to see if your local town is hosting a French Market like this you can check out the website here. I took it as good practise for when Chief takes me to Paris.
Talking of Chief, he's been in Oxfordshire a lot this weekend too. Ferrying people and equipment from Brize Norton to the North East. Yes, a lot of driving. He's already been to Scotland just days after coming back to the UK, so there has been no chance of getting together yet. I may just save him a Madeline if he hurries up and gets down here!